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Plant & Animal Secrets Unit Share
Mystery 5 of 6
How do plants and trees grow?
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Can`you`think`of`a
way`to`figure`out
if`the`sunlight
helped`the`small
tree`grow?

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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading, and extension activity in the extensions.

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.

  • End of Mystery Assessment : Open-ended drawing/writing prompt
  • Readings: These books will get your students thinking about what plants need to live and grow.
  • Video: Get students observing and predicting with a time-lapse video of a growing seed!
  • Activities: Three options for an extended plant investigation
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Readings

These online books are free for educators registered on Epic!:

Plants Are Alive by Molly Aloian explores how the parts of a plant, such as roots, stems, and flowers, help a plant survive.

Carmela Plants a Tree by Marianne Mitchell is a short story about a girl who plants a tree in her yard.

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Video and Discussion

This timelapse video of a seed germinating would make a great opportunity for discussion:

  • Before watching: Tell students they’re going to watch a sped-up video of a plant beginning to grow.
  • While watching: Pause the video several times to have students describe what they’re seeing and make predictions about what will happen next.
  • After watching: Ask students what they think would have happened if the plant didn’t get water or sunlight. How would the video have been different?

For more on how to lead great science discussions, see this list of talk moves from The Inquiry Project.

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Activities

Note: These activities last three weeks or longer but are a great opportunity to extend this Mystery further.

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Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Plant Needs: Light
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students investigate the conditions plants need to survive. In the two-part activity, Seeds — Light and Dark, students experiment with growing radish seeds in light and dark conditions. They plant them in cups, place half of the cups in the sun, and put the other half in a dark container. Three to seven days later, students compare the seedlings and then watch what happens when all are placed in the sun.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Crayons
Ideally each student will have green and yellow colors available. Colored pencils or markers will also work.
Details
60 crayons
Aluminum Foil
Need enough to cover the aluminum pan.
Details
3 feet
Aluminum Pan
Must be large enough to hold half of the Dixie cups.
Details
1 pan
Baking Soda
2 teaspoons
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
38 cups
Paper Plates
8 plates
Spray Bottles
8 bottles
Sticker Labels (1" x 3")
30 labels
Peat Pellets
You need to soak peat pellets in water so that they are moist enough. Potting soil will also work. You will need about a quart of potting soil for a class of 24 students.
Details
30 pellets
Radish Seeds
1 3-gram packet
Draw the Radishes printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

This is a two-part activity. We recommend that you allow at least three days (up to one week) in between Part One and Part Two of the experiment to give the radish seeds time to germinate.

You will need access to a sunny windowsill for radish seeds to grow in the light. You will also need access to water so that you can fill up the spray bottles.

  • For each pair of students (or one homeschool student), fill two Dixie cups halfway with moist potting soil or place one peat pellet in each cup. If you are using peat pellets, you will need to hydrate these with water.
  • For each table of four students, put about 1/8 teaspoon of radish seeds (~40 seeds) in a Dixie cup.
  • In each spray bottle, mix 1 cup of water with about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Adding baking soda will inhibit mold growth in the soil, but won’t affect the plants.
Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Plant Needs: Light
Extensions